Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Baruch Spergel - February 4, 2008

Thoughts on Karl May

I'm a little curious, what were the books that you read in German?

BS: In German?

Yeah, you said you were reading- you were always reading...

BS: First of all I read a lot of uh, what's his name, uh...

ZF: Adventure stories.

BS: Adventure stories, crime books, crime books and um, in German I read Karl May as I told you, yes. If I got a Karl May book for, for my birthday it made me perfectly happy, you know, there was so much adventure, so much uh, but this man never left Germany-no, he, he lived in Austria I think, in Austria Karl May lived. I think so. Anyway, he wrote about, about, about the Middle East for instance, the Arabs and all this and he wrote about Indians in America and-but everything he wrote was so realistic and so true, you know, but especially now I may meet Ar...Arabs and see that whatever he said was-whatever he wrote was more or less the truth. He uh, depicted the uh, what's his name? The uh, the uh, Arabs-the way they lived and they way they believed and he had a friend who was-what's his name? A servant called Hadschi Halef Omar, son of Hadschi Abul Abbas and, uh...

ZF: All this talking, ??? whenever you want. Q:???

BS: The way the Hadschi-the importance of the Hadschi was to come to Mecca. Yes, he himself went to the-he the, the, the hero in this book although he was German went to Mecca and this was of course was-it's, it's a sin, a terrible sin. No, no unbelievers were allowed to go to Mecca and it's really worth re...fascinating books he wrote this man, Karl May.

Is it M-E-Y-E-R?

BS: Hmm?

How does he spell his name?

BS: Which name?


ZF: May, May.

BS: Karl May? M-A-Y. Karl...

ZF: May, May.

BS: K-A-R-L...


BS: Yes. I found a book-we went to uh, we visited our town Reichenberg about when, when were there? In '92? Ten years ago. I bought one of these books for my bro...for, for my brother uh, who was...

© Board of Regents University of Michigan-Dearborn